Mainstream medicine is always looking for that “magic bullet” drug that can cure whatever ails you. Of course, those of us who understand how natural science really works know this is a ridiculous (and dangerous) fantasy.
But there are a variety of natural compounds that can lower your risk of multiple diseases. Take vitamin D, for example, which can help prevent everything from diabetes to depression. Or vitamin C’s effects on everything from cancer to colds (as discussed on page 2).
And now, exciting new research shows that an amino acid called l-carnitine can lower blood pressure and whittle your waist at the same time.1 And since obesity and high blood pressure are key risk factors for cardiovascular disease, that means l-carnitine can be a powerful protector against the world’s number one killer.
Protect your metabolic health with one simple supplement
This new study was said to be the first meta-analysis investigating the effects of l-carnitine supplementation on risk factors for metabolic syndrome, including blood pressure, waist circumference, blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Researchers analyzed nine controlled clinical trials involving 508 people with a range of medical conditions, including diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Most of the studies lasted for 12 weeks, and the participants took an average of 2,000 mg of l-carnitine a day.
Two of the trials, with a total of 155 participants, measured waist circumference. And the participants who took l-carnitine had an impressive 3/4-inch reduction in waist size at the end of the studies.
There were also two trials, with a total of 66 participants, that measured blood pressure. Those who took l-carnitine had a significant decrease of 7.4 mmHg in systolic blood pressure (the top number).
And in four of the studies, with a total of 321 participants, the l-carnitine group’s fasting blood sugar significantly dropped by 11 mg/dL. But because these studies didn’t compare the l-carnitine groups’ blood sugar measurements to the placebo groups, it’s difficult to say whether l-carnitine alone accounted for the blood sugar drop. (Sadly, the researchers didn’t measure the participants’ A1C levels, which are a better indicator of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.)
There was no change in cholesterol levels in any of the studies (which, as you know, isn’t an issue in any case). And there was no evidence that l-carnitine lowered triglyceride levels.
As I mentioned earlier, l-carnitine is an amino acid. It plays a key role in transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria that produce energy and hydration for all cells. Simply put: The better the mitochondria function, the better your body functions—and fights off disease.
L-carnitine is abundant in dairy, fish, and meat—which I always encourage you to consume as part of a healthy, balanced diet. (Yet another reason not to fall victim to popular overly restrictive diets, like vegetarianism. As this study again shows, it’s a dangerous myth that consuming meat is somehow bad for your heart or metabolic health.)
As a dietary supplement, I recommend 500 mg per day of l-carnitine.
There’s just one caveat: Avoid popular supplements with l-carnitine that are promoted for “muscle building,” “fat burning,” and/or “weight loss.” In the right amounts, l-carnitine provides needed metabolic support, but this is definitely one supplement where you never want to take too much.
Research shows that taking more than 5,000 mg of l-carnitine a day can cause serious side effects like gastrointestinal problems and atherosclerosis. So it’s best to rely on getting your l-carnitine mainly from your diet—with a small amount of supplementation.
1“L-Carnitine’s Effect on the Biomarkers of Metabolic Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2795.